That changed, finally, at the Valspar Championship in Florida.

Burns got some help from Keegan Bradley hitting into the water on the 13th hole, and then the 24-year-old from Louisiana took it from there with two birdies that led to a three-under 68 and a three-shot victory.

Burns, with a score of 17-under 267, won for the first time on the PGA Tour after twice failing to convert 54-hole leads.

"Those moments in the past, you really learn a lot," Burns said.

"This week coming down the stretch, I tried to stick to our process."

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The victory at Innisbrook Golf Resort moves Burns into the top 50 in the world and all but assures a spot in the US Open, along with his first trip to the Masters next spring.

Burns was wiping away tears when he tapped in for a meaningless bogey on the final hole, especially to see his wife, parents and other family members pour onto the green to celebrate the moment with him.

"I've worked so hard for this moment," Burns said.

"I've worked so hard for this moment. They've all sacrificed so much." – Sam Burns

"They've all sacrificed so much.

Bradley and Burns were tied after the second and third rounds and they stayed that way through 12 holes on another blistering day at the Copperhead course.

That changed with one swing.

Bradley came up well short on the par-3 13th and went into the water, leading to double bogey.

Burns saved par with an eight-foot putt for a two-shot lead.

He extended his advantage to four strokes with two holes to play, with the water and worst hazards behind him.

Max Homa briefly tied for the lead with a birdie on the par-5 opening hole but he didn't make another birdie the rest of the day, on his way to a 74 to finished tied for sixth, seven shots adrift of Burns.

Cameron Tringale was lurking but never seriously challenged with his 68 good enough for a share of third at 13 under with Viktor Hovland, whose had a 65 but started too far back at the start of the day.

Mexico's Abraham Ancer (69) finished fifth at 12 under.